THE fight is on against scammers who are trying their best to trick people into parting with hard-earned cash.
Council Trading Standards officers have teamed-up with St Helens Citizens Advice Bureau to foil the conmen by urging people to be let them know about website, postal, doorstep call or phone contact proposals that seem too good to be true.
“If it sounds too good to be true it might well be a scam,” is the advice from Trading Standards on the opening day (May 1) of Scams Awareness Month
The watchdogs have highlighted different tricks from online adverts and tricksters using dating websites to build relationships with people they later defraud to ‘phishing’ emails and ‘vishing’ phone calls designed to con people into giving away sensitive information.
Other cons include investment scams and advanced fees requested to claim unexpected lottery wins. Fewer than five per cent of people report scams to the authorities so Trading Standards and Citizens Advice reckon it is time to fight back against scammers to ensure they don’t get away with conning innocent people.
Darrell Wilson, Chief Trading Standards Officer urges people to tell them of any dodgy approach: "It’s time for us to give scammers the shove. By telling us we can stop the con artists in their tracks and make sure no one else falls foul of their tricks.”
Kath Inkpen, Social Policy Co-ordinator from St Helens CAB, said: “Scammers can’t continue to get away with fleecing people of their hard-earned money. “It is a disgrace that scammers often target elderly people with sophisticated scams such as posing as their bank or phone company. “People regularly come to us with heart-breaking stories about con artists taking their money and it’s important that people know what to look out for and what they can do.
"Anyone who is unsure about someone asking for their financial details should check with someone they trust and report anything that sounds dodgy to their local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can get the low-down on scams by visiting Citizensadvice.org.uk/sam14.”
St. Helens Trading Standards and the Citizens Advice Bureau will highlight concerns, answer questions and distribute advice leaflets on Tuesday, May 13 between 10am and 3pm at the Central Library; Friday, May 16 (10am - 12 noon) Chester Lane Library; Wednesday, May 21 (1pm - 4pm) Eccleston Library and Thursday, May 29 (10am - 1pm) Rainford Library.
People are being urged to check with trusted friends or relatives about anyone asking for financial details and to report dodgy requests. If you have been scammed report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040